FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Gov. Tony Knowles and other dignitaries attended the opening ceremony Monday for a half-scale roving replica of the Vietnam Veterans memorial wall.
The wall lists the names of the 58,226 people killed during the Vietnam War but in smaller letters than what's chiseled into the black marble wall in Washington, D.C.
The 252-foot long traveling wall now stands at Bicentennial Park at Ninth Avenue and Cushman Street. The original traveling wall was constructed by John Deavitt and two other Vietnam veterans and finished in 1984. It visited Fairbanks in 1985.
''This isn't about politics and people's views,'' said Joe Fields, an organizer of the event and a Vietnam veteran. ''We have a theme of the wall and it's sacrifice and remembrance, duty and obligation... The concept is reconciliation.''
Starting at 1 p.m. Monday, the names were to be continuously read aloud for 70 straight hours until approximately 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Knowles, as well as Deavitt, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and Fairbanksan Drew Dix, retired Col. Wally Cox and Veterans Center counselor Nancy Smoyer were the featured speakers. Smoyer was an American Red Cross worker in Vietnam and also lost her brother in the war.
The Alaska Native Veterans Association was to start off the opening ceremony with drums, dancing and song.
A closing ceremony will be held Tuesday morning before the wall is packed up for a similar ceremony in Anchorage.
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